Students with the Queen's grease pole. Photo courtesy of Mario Baker.

In the early hours of Sunday, September 13, a group of crafty University of Toronto Engineering students “liberated” an iconic Queen’s Engineering grease pole  mascot.

The pole is currently in the custody of the Brute Force Committee (BFC), a semi-secret Engineering student society.  The BFC released a statement on their website saying that a group of anonymous “Skuligans” had liberated the pole and that the demands for its release would be announced shortly.

The pranking rivalry began in 1955, when Queen’s students first stole the pole, which was formerly a U of T Varsity football upright. Since then, every year the pole has been a traditional part of the Queen’s engineering orientation, where a group of students will climb to retrieve a tam from its peak. On September 13, within 48 hours of the pole-climbing ceremony, the pole was missing, and the BFC released the following statement: “Upon finding the pole neglected and unguarded, [the anonymous Engineering students] felt sympathetic and were compelled to bring [the Pole] to a better home.”

“The group of highly skilled individuals executed the plan flawlessly in a quick, cunning and quiet manner,” said Mario Baker, the BFC’s self-styled “Da Chief,” on the methods by which the pole was captured. “The team exploited the pole bearers laziness and a lapse in security,” Baker added.

“We are quite impressed with the BFC and their creative tactics that enabled them to find the pole,” said Julie Tseng, president of the Queen’s University Engineering Society. The specifics on how the pole was retrieved are still unclear. All that is known about the theft is that the ‘liberators’ said the pole was “extremely fucking heavy.”

“While I do not endorse stealing, I believe this prank fell within the boundaries of an act of friendly rivalry,” said Ernesto Diaz Lozano Patiño, the president of the University of Toronto Engineering Society. According to the BFC, the prank was executed in accordance with the Engineering Student Societies’ Council of Ontario’s ‘Pranker’s Code,’ the document that governs the operation of engineering student society pranks in Ontario.

Both Queens and U of T students are patiently awaiting the BFC’s next move and soon to be released, ransom note.

“We hope this liberation will bring pride to the Skule™ community, and that it encourages engineering schools across Canada to continue our long-standing traditions of rivalry through pranks and events,” said Baker, who reminded the engineering community of their duty to protect their historic items. “This recent acquisition serves as a reminder to the oath we all took to protect the greatest mascots: Ye Olde Mighty Skule™ Cannon. Always remember to Honour It, Respect It, and Protect It.”

The BFC is a ‘nonexistent’ group of U of T engineering students responsible for school pranks and highjinks. “We do not exist, we have never existed and we will never exist,” is their motto. The first time that the BFC abducted the pole was 15 years ago, in 2000.

The BFC has a long history at U of T. They are known for sneaking into the McLennan Physical Laboratories and the annual painting of the dome on the University of Toronto Students’ Union building. Their rap sheet also includes laborious pranks, such as the colossal pencil sharpener at OCAD and a spider web covering Con Hall.

Despite the group’s mysterious nature, they claim to be “all about school spirit and getting people into it.”

When The Varsity asked Patiño about the BFC, he simply replied: “I don’t think [the BFC] exists, has ever existed or will ever exist.” 

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